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Sex & Cancer: 9 Lessons To Navigate Sex

by Lyndsey Harper, MD

At Rosy, we love to hear from our users and even women outside the Rosy community to learn what issues they’re experiencing and how we can best support women on their journey to sexual wellness.

More recently, our team heard from cancer survivors the need for sexual health resources. Women who have or had cancer told us low sexual desire is one of their main concerns but also an issue no one talks about. In response, we designed a brand new Rosy Class in an effort to provide resources for navigating sex through cancer.

Thriving Sexually During & After Cancer

This class was made for women who have or have had a cancer diagnosis and want to improve their sexual wellbeing. Dr. Terstriep, a Board Certified Oncologist, educates about common issues her patients face including fatigue, sexual pain, vaginal dryness, and optimal communication with the healthcare team. Dr. Hysjulien, a nurse and psychologist, teaches survivors about how to communicate with their partner, how to manage stress, mood changes, body image, and how to reconnect sexually with her partner. These classes include educational materials and easy-to-incorporate actions made by experts who treat cancer patients every day. Drs. Terstriep and Hysjulien know that not only do their patients want to live, but they also want to thrive.
What you’ll learn:

  1. How to Overcome Cancer Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most common and distressing symptoms during cancer treatment, making sex the last thing on your list of priorities. Here you will learn how to improve fatigue and get your energy for intimacy back.
  2. Partner Communication During Cancer: Talking about sex is extremely important for a healthy relationship, and with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it’s even more critical. Even if you’ve never talked about sex in the past, this lesson will help you find your voice and use cancer as an opportunity to start that conversation.
  3. How to Alleviate Pain with Sex: Cancer treatment can lead to pain during sexual activity for a variety of reasons. Here, we cover some of the most common causes that cancer and its treatment can contribute to pain, and give you some ideas on how to manage and break that cycle.
  4. How to Deal with Stress: Cancer is stressful emotionally, physically and spiritually, affecting sexual desire, arousal and pain. In this lesson, you’ll learn about the main stressors of your cancer diagnosis, intentional reflections and exercises to help decrease your stress levels.
  5. Vaginal Dryness Remedies: Vaginal dryness is the most common sexual concern in general and can be magnified by cancer treatment. In this lesson, you’ll learn more about vaginal dryness and the available options for help.
  6. Coping with Mood Changes: Depression and anxiety are common when going through cancer treatments. This lesson educates you on anxiety and depression throughout the cancer process, with questionnaires to help you to identify if you suffer from either.
  7. Communication with Healthcare Team: Sexual concerns are a health and a quality of life concern that are impacted by cancer and its treatment. Speaking to your healthcare team about these concerns can be daunting. Here, you will learn some helpful approaches that will help empower you to get any additional help you may need from your care team.
  8. Managing Body Image: This lesson addresses cancer, body image and its impact on sexual function. By becoming more aware of how we see and picture ourselves in our minds, we can take control of those thoughts and take steps in becoming kinder to ourselves.
  9. How to Reconnect with your Partner: Communicating about sex can be challenging after a cancer diagnosis, however, communicating can happen in ways other than talking. These exercises can help you connect with partner or yourself slowly and safely in a nonverbal way.

Learn more about the class and watch the Class Introduction video here.

If you are a survivor or currently undergoing cancer treatment, I invite you to download the Rosy App (if you haven’t already 😉) and start the class today. In addition, if you or someone you know could benefit from take this Rosy Class, please share Rosy with her.

The Rosy team is always looking for more and better ways to support you and all women with low desire and other sexual problems. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to see particular content - we love to hear from you.

Lyndsey Harper, MD is the Founder and CEO of Rosy.